By Kapiʻo News Staff

Chancellor Misaki Takabayashi started at Kapiʻolani Community College on March 1, 2023. One year later, what do people think of the job she has done?

The following quotes is a compilation of interviews conducted by staff writers Juri Dagio, Cameron Enomoto, and Shawna Takaki, all members of the Kapiʻo News team, to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the diverse voices within the KCC community. The Kapiʻo News team has decided to allow the sources to remain anonymous. It is to create a space where individuals feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and opinions openly and honestly. The team believes that this approach will lead to richer and more authentic content, reflecting a diverse range of perspectives and experiences.

Here is what some people said about Takabayashi’s first year:

“I feel like it’s too early to tell, or to see the impact. … There has been a little more energy to get the campus involved in-person. The pancake thing is good to have, since we don’t have food options. … But it’s too early to see if we’re gonna get the bigger things.” – Campus employee

“We’ve had significant changes with administration. There’s a whole new team of them, which can be good when you’re looking at the possibility of shifting the campus culture to better meet the needs of the campus community. I think there’s been an improvement in students on campus. You can tell because of the parking lot, that’s how I know. I think we have more employees on campus regularly than we had before, but there are some that are really still staying on the periphery and trying to Zoom as much as possible. There’s been unfair, or unequal implementation of that requirement. I think she needs to be more approachable or have more availability to allow employees to come talk to her about things they’re concerned about. And taking more ownership of the leadership authority that she has as chancellor. There’s a shared sense of observation that part of her leadership style is to defer to other administrators because it’s their area of expertise. But I think some people are frustrated that she’s not using her chancellor role to hold people accountable for things.” – Campus employee 

“A lot of people are still working from home … maybe it’s a union issue, but I don’t know. They should hire more people.” – Campus employee, worked 10 years at KCC

“She’s definitely involved so early on into her chancellorship … just diving straight in. She’s definitely not hiding away in her office. I’ve also seen a lot more students on campus than in Covid years. I could say there has been an improvement in campus life, and a lot of students are actually excited to be on campus. For the first year, she’s doing a good job, and I’m optimistic to see what’s going to happen next year.” – Coordinator, 5 years 

“It’s good that she’s attending different events. It creates relationships.” – Coordinator, 1st semester at KCC 

“I guess I can see that she is trying to get involved. … I don’t know what improvement I’ve seen. There are not enough food options on campus. I can see that they brought in the food truck, but it’s not enough. There should at least be the Subway or something, or even the cafeteria is still not even serving food. I think there should be an improvement in that area. There’s room for improvement.” – Counselor, 10 years 

“I haven’t worked with the chancellor directly, but I agree with her efforts to bring people back to campus. I was here when Covid hit and that was terrible for everyone. Campus was so empty, and we lost our sense of touch. When I heard that Chancellor Takabayashi was working on initiatives to bring life back here I felt a sense of relief. It will take a lot to bring it back to the way it used to be but a collective effort is better than nothing at all.” – Faculty staff, 5 years

“She responds very quickly to concerns. She is very responsive, she listens. She seems to be more inclined to say ‘yes’ when you come to her with a problem, a suggestion, or a need. … She is willing to work to address the problem. With everything that’s going on – building repairs, trees being cut – it’s being done efficiently. She’s very supportive of the faculty. She did the ‘Pancake Tuesdays’ that brought a lot of people on campus for some food, to get together and talk. It’s got to be an incredible challenge to come from the outside to a new campus. I think she’s done a fantastic job.” – Professor, 20 years 

“I have to say, Chancellor Takabayashi has been doing wonderful things for our campus, and since she took over, I’ve been able to hold more in-person events for my students in a larger venue at KCC. The room I’m in is really cramped and it can be uncomfortable for my students when we try to squeeze a number of us in there. This is something I’ve been trying to ask about for a handful of years and only now something is being done about it because of our new chancellor. I’m grateful since it makes my class a much better experience for my students.” – Professor, 30 years

“I think, personally, I would say that I’ve been noticing more activity with students. Some events and clubs happening up again. I also noticed that this semester my class filled up really fast, for in-person classes, which was quite unexpected. I used to be a student here years back, [and] I am surprised the Subway was closed, the cafeteria also seemed closed. More food options would be nice. As a lecturer, I would say more office supplies and just easy access to those. I think it might still be a struggle to get more teachers to teach in-person though. I think that’s something that could be worked on. I think those are the only things I’ve noticed so far.” – Professor, 6 months

“I’ve heard personally that some people said some elevators on campus were not working. So, when someone brought it up to her personally, she said, ‘Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize, I’ll take care of it.’ And she got back to that same person a month later saying it was done, even though they [the elevators] sat unrepaired for years. Ohelo, ‘Ilima was undergoing some repairs … I want to say Kopiko might be undergoing tech repairs and improvements. I guess, more facility repairs for all buildings on campus. Not just to say that every building should get repairs because we’re all suffering in our own ways. I’ve heard stories where somebody said their roof is leaking right onto their desk, and I’ve heard someone say an insect basically fell and landed in their mug.” – Staff Council

“Chancellor Takabayashi is one of the coolest people on campus. She has such a great way of speaking that makes her goals very inspiring and admirable. I like that she has a wide variety of perspectives since she’s from another country. I really feel like she’ll continue to do good for the campus even after I graduate. I suppose the only thing I would be critical of is the lack of super affordable food options here, but I know she’s working with her team as fast as possible to provide for students. I saw that they just started bentos in the bookstore and of course we still have the food trucks. I think this is something that will take more time since everything was affected after the lockdown.” – Student, 2nd year at KCC